In conversation with, Dr. C. N. V. M. Rao, Principal of Manikchand Pahade Law College at Aurangabad, Maharashtra.
Q: You have over three decades of teaching experience. Could you please share with our readers your brief journey?
A: On completion of 28 years of teaching experience, it is proud feeling to refresh my memory. I never planned to study law. The Principal of the law college in my hometown observed me while I worked with him on legal drafting of business matters, consequently he advised my father to admit me in the law college.
When I started teaching, I prepared for the lectures by gathering information from several books on the concerned subjects. I used to attend lectures regularly while I was studying law; this helped me in understanding the concepts of law in great detail and deliver lectures without any hesitation and with a great command over the subject.
Q: In the times where legal education fee is exorbitantly charged, what is the aim of the college behind charging nominal fees?
A: Manikchand Pahade Law College was established in 1957 by servants of law to cater the needs of the society for legal education in the backward region of Marathwada. Most of the students in the college are from families whose income is based on agriculture and related activities. The mission of the college is to legally empower the younger generation with socially relevant legal education. Hence, the fee is charged around Rs.3500 per annum, which is the lowest among the other law colleges aided by the Government of Maharashtra.
Q: Tell us about your thesis for Ph.D.
A: I have spent countless sleepless nights while preparing my thesis 'A Study of Doctrine of Promissory Estoppel and Its Application in the Domain of Public Law in India’. It took me seven years to complete my work by collecting data from National Law Institute University (NLIU), Bhopal, Hidayatullah National Law University (HNLU), Raipur, Government Law College (GLC), Pondicherry, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam and Tamilnadu Ambedkar Law University, Chennai. This was submitted under the guidance of Dr. R. Venkat Rao, Vice Chancellor, NLSIU, Bengaluru and awarded Ph. D. by the Andhra University.
Q: What are the most pressing issues in legal education currently?
A: As someone who has been a faculty, an assistant principal and subsequently a principal of a law college, in my experience, legal education is at cross-roads and facing many challenges. There is a lack of coordination between various bodies such as Bar Council of India (BCI), University Grants Commission (UGC) etc. There are multiple issues involved in affiliation of law colleges, commencement of syllabus and conduct of examinations. Eventually, this hampers the quality of knowledge imparted to the law students and also affects their employability.